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Hello! Waiting for assessment, and I have a question

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Nummulite, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. Nummulite

    Nummulite Member

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    Hi everyone!
    I'm 28 years old and recently got a referral to get assessed for asd.

    I've come across information that made me realize it's a strong possibility for me, and I want to do more reading about autism, but I'm wondering: should I avoid doing too much research before my assessment?

    I'm hoping for the result to be in favor of a diagnosis so that I can stop searching for what's wrong with me, and I know that this makes me biased. I'm worried that if I know too much about what the "right" answers are, I'll unconsciously try to sway the results in that direction.

    At the same time, when I talk to mental health professionals I often have trouble remembering relevant information to bring up, and it would be nice to know what I should focus on if they ask open ended questions.

    Any advice would be appreciated (or just stop in and say hi if you'd like)!
     
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  2. watersprite

    watersprite inadvertent vagabond V.I.P Member

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    Welcome.
     
  3. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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  4. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome. Generally an assessment includes questionnaires about many aspects of your life. If you're like most people who are assessed or at least based on my own experience and numerous other autistic people I know or who have written about their assessment, you'll likely want to give expanded answers to the questions. My expanded answers ended up being 18 double sided typed pages (my handwriting is nearly illegible). I know someone whose narrative ended up being many many pages longer.

    A criteria for an autism diagnoses is that the characteristics must have been evident in childhood. They don't magically develop later in life. So assessors are keen on any information that can be supplied by a parent or other adult that knew you very well when you were age 0-5 for example.

    My dad was largely absent during those years and my mom had died prior to my assessment, but thankfully she'd kept a baby journal about my first years and she'd written quite a lot about my solitary behavior, lack of display of emotions compared to other kids, advanced vocabulary and very precise diction and writing about how I was seemingly in my own world so much so that "I wish he knew how much we love him." I was able to copy those pages of her writings and include them with my narrative.

    You are who you are. I wouldn't worry about learning everything you can before the assessment. "Come as you are." Also, if inclined, use that opportunity during the assessment to truly act the way you want to. It's a freeing experience. Sit wherever you want to sit; on the floor, even. I told my assessor I wasn't going to make eye contact with her but that I could if she wanted me to because I could mask well. It's funny because I assumed at some point during the assessment she'd ask me to mask to see how different I could be. The funny part was that she didn't ask me to mask at all and I was a bit disappointed because I thought I could show off my "skill".
     
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  5. jleeb05

    jleeb05 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I know how you feel. My assessment begins in exactly one week and I was worried that reading too much about ASD might somehow sway my answers during the assessment. I don't think that'll be the case though. I think learning more about ASD has given me a lot of "aha" moments. There are things I will now make sure to bring up that I would have never thought might be connected to ASD until beginning my research.

    Also, I keep reminding myself: How many neurotypical people seek out autism assessments or read about ASD and think, that sounds just like me? If researching sways your answers it might simply be because learning is helping you to think about yourself in a new way and from a new perspective. What I saw as anger issues might be sensory issues. What I labelled "temper tantrums and panic attacks" might have been "meltdowns and shutdowns." I say learn all you can and go into the assessment with an open mind and desire for truth, whatever it may be.
     
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  6. Nummulite

    Nummulite Member

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    Thank you for your response, that was very helpful! I'm relieved that they let you go into as much detail as you want, I have trouble with the "how strongly do you agree with this statement" multiple-choice type questionnaires.

    I don't have a very good memory for my childhood, but my mom lives nearby. Is it generally okay to bring a parent with you? And if it is, would it be okay if she was only there for part of the assessment (I'd feel less self conscious without her there for the whole thing).

    I'm also good with masking (or acting mostly normal anyway), I'll try to keep in mind that I don't have to try too hard in that situation. I'm afraid they'll think I'm "putting it on" though if I come across as too strange. I think I'm just overthinking the whole situation, I should just try not to worry about it until I actually go in.
     
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  7. Nummulite

    Nummulite Member

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    Thank you, I'm glad I'm not the only one!

    I've had the same experience with "aha" moments piling up whenever I learn something about asd. A big one was executive dysfunction, I had no idea what it was before and I never thought to bring it up to mental health professionals (I just considered it a character flaw, why would that be relevant to them?)

    I think I'll keep learning when the urge strikes me, but I'll just stay away from info about the actual contents of these tests.

    Good luck with your assessment, I hope you learn more about yourself!
     
  8. Nitro

    Nitro Admin/Immoral Turpitude Staff Member Admin V.I.P Member

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  9. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You'd have to ask about bringing your mom. If I recall there was a page of the pre-assessment paperwork, questionnaires, etc that was directed toward a parent or family member. Maybe if you got one of those kinds of things your mom would just fill it out on her own.
     
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  10. VictorR

    VictorR Random Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome! Hopefully whatever the results are, it'll help you figure out the future :)

    You may find it useful to write down any thoughts you have and bring that with you.

    Each interview / assessment is done in its own way, so unless you know someone who visited the same professional and in similar circumstances, it's just going with the flow.
     
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  11. Sabrina

    Sabrina Gentle & brave earthling

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    In my opinion, the more you know, the better. If you are used to masking, you might not get properly diagnosed.
     
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  12. Nummulite

    Nummulite Member

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    That's a good idea, I'm going to do this! Much easier than thinking of everything in person
     
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  13. Nummulite

    Nummulite Member

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    That's one thing I worry about. I've brought up vague concerns to therapists/psychologists before about communicating and connecting with people, and they brushed it off and told me that I'm pleasant to talk to. I know that I'm being pleasant, I try very hard to be! If I know more, maybe it will help me articulate what I'm having trouble with.
     
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  14. jleeb05

    jleeb05 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have that fear two but when I did the intake for my assessment the person said, “I see why you’d come to us.” :tearsofjoy: I think that was at least some confirmation that they were at least seeing something.

    I may be wrong but I hope that the clinicians doing these assessments realize that ASD is more than what you can observe just by looking or talking to someone.
     
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  15. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi and welcome. It kind of goes with the territory to do too much research, I m sure they must be used to it... I have self diagnosed, and am not intending to try to get a diagnosis, I researched plenty and it fits, so I am happy with that.

    Probably easier for me to say, partly because I have done a lot of personal therapy over the years, so much that I think if the communication and social interaction issues I have, and which are typical of ASD had been changeable, I would have changed them, but seems I can't. Also because I subsequently trained as a therapist and learned about ASD through working with people with an Asperger/ ASD1 diagnosis, then realised the issues explained my own experience.

    Diagnosis of adults does seem an inexact thing, and can seem to depend on how up to date and experienced with adults, the diagnoser is. Women in particular seem to present a little differently from the criteria that were developed largely from data on men, so that can be an issue for some. Jessica Kingsley publishers have useful texts about girls and women with Autism and the issues relating to diagnosis.

    Hopefully it will go smoothly for you.
     
  16. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to Autism Forums!